Page by Paige

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Paige is a small town girl moving to the biggest of the big cities, New York. (Is New York the biggest city in the U.S.? I have no idea. But, it's the biggest of the big cities, regardless, don'cha know.) She purchases her first friend at a bookstore -- a blank sketchbook, and begins to build a new life.

Page by Paige is a mix of the narrative that is Paige's story and the artwork that is her sketchbook.  It's very meta -- drawing about drawing. It's almost less of a graphic novel, and more of a narrative sketchbook. But "narrative sketchbook" is not a genre. Yet. So.

When we discussed this one at the graphic novel book club, Barratt put her finger right on the thing that makes this book so unique. That is, the majority of graphic novels portray the action in the book in pictures (and the dialog in words). This book portrays Paige's emotions in pictures as much or more than any movement of people. Which makes sense because there's not a whole lot of exciting action in the typical day of a high schooler.

This could make it a good pick for those interested in practicing their graphic novel reading skills. (I'm serious, there are different skills involved.)  After finishing this book, I felt a sense of accomplishment: "Wow! I'm getting good at reading graphic novels, this one didn't give me any trouble at all!"  Of course, credit is due to thoughtful crafting on the part of the author as much as to my previous practice in reading pictures.

The drawing is fantastic. Exceptional. About the plot, I feel lukewarm. It was never surprising. It's been done. It could be accused of being trite. But that is very much forgivable, as the art kept me fully engaged, and keeps me flipping back through it.

A couple of links

I quite enjoyed reading what Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 had to say about possible award winners this year.  I haven't the foggiest about who will win this year, but going through her picks I just kept adding titles to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

I also quite enjoyed entering this Crossed giveaway, hosted by the author. Cuz I know I want to read it! (everead review of book 1: Matched)

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

So I'm in this book club. I call it the "Over the Years" book club, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who does. Anyway, it's been meeting monthly since 1993, so "over the years" is apt. Well the book for July is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I put it on hold at the library and it came in pretty quick, so I've just finished it.

I was excited to read it because my friend Lindsay mentioned it on her blog, and talked about how Rubin's "Spend out" principle really resonated with her. I just love the photo.

This is a well written book. It is organized beautifully. Reading through it, I got the feeling that Gretchen Rubin likes to be organized -- a woman after my own heart! Not only is the book well organized but her thoughts are well articulated within it, and many of the resolutions she made over the course of her year-long happiness project were about becoming more focused on things that matter.  I found it fresh and insightful to look at the small things that we can change to make us happy -- those of us who are already happy with our lives, for the most part -- and in that way keep the good that we have and deepen our current happiness.

I almost snapped my fingers and said "yes!" several times as I was reading the book. Near the end, Rubin highlights the distinction between resolutions and goals, and that was a particularly enlightening section to me. Goals are set and met. Resolutions are decided upon and you continually strive to meet them. Both are good, of course.

Resolutions? Yes please. I will be making some of my own very soon. I've got a nice list of books I want to read, now, too. She keeps recommending them, you see, and making them sound so fascinating.
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